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May 16 (Reuters) - U.S. availability of two new smartphones from Taiwan's HTC Corp will be delayed due to a customs review required after the company lost a patent lawsuit against Apple Inc last year, exacerbating its already declining sales in its once largest market.

HTC said in a statement on Wednesday that "the U.S. availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC (International Trade Commission) exclusion order".

Apple scored a narrow victory against HTC in a patent lawsuit in December over technology in the smartphones, one of many patent disputes in the fiercely competitive market.

Under that ruling, HTC phones with the technology covered by the lawsuit would be banned from the U.S. from April 19. HTC has said that it had a workaround to avoid the disputed technology, however all new phones are still required to undergo customs review.

Some shipments of the phones had reached the U.S. before the ban date, enabling their launch, but further shipments are being delayed, an HTC official in Taipei said.

In a separate statement, the company said it believes it is "in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with customs to secure approval".

HTC shares fell 4.3 percent on Wednesday, in a broader market down 1,2 percent.

U.S. operator Sprint originally scheduled to launch HTC EVO 4G LTE on Friday and it has been taking pre-orders on its website, while AT&T, which has been carrying the One X model in store since May 6, says the smartphone is "out of stock" on its website.

Sprint and AT&T both declined to comment.

"Previously, it was expected that general exclusion order from the patent infringement referred to only old models from HTC. However, the latest news suggest otherwise with all models (new and old) potentially at risk," Goldman Sachs said in a trading note to clients seen by Reuters.

It said the U.S. market was expected to account for 15-20 percent of HTC's second-quarter shipments, and this delay might post potential downside risk to company's earnings this quarter and possibly in the third quarter, depending on how quickly HTC could resolve the issue.

Last month, HTC Chief Executive Officer Peter Chou said HTC wouldn't return to the days when more than 50 percent of its revenue came from the United States, a market where it saw a big drop last year because of the fierce competition from Apple's iPhone 4S.
Game one of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers kicks off tonight and if the Thunder play as efficiently as they did against the Mavericks, they can be finished by this weekend against Kobe Bryant and company. Of course, pulling that off would be an incredible feat and not likely considering the star power the Lakers bring.

Whether you're tuning in for the star power of Bryant and Kevin Durant, the startling play of Russell Westbrook or the tension between Metta World Peace and James Harden, there's a lot to like about this series. Here's the way the full series looks laid out over a full seven game stretch.

Game 1 - May 14 (Mon) L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City 8:30PM TNT
Game 2 - May 16 (Wed) L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City 8:30PM TNT
Game 3 - May 18 (Fri) Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers 9:30PM ESPN
Game 4 - May 19 (Sat) Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers 9:30PM TNT
Game 5 * May 21 (Mon) L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City TBD TNT
Game 6 * May 23 (Wed) Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers TBD ESPN
Game 7 * May 27 (Sun) L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City TBD TNT
Apple's next generation of MacBook Pros will be unveiled at next month's Worldwide Developers Conference, according to a new report.

Adding to claims made by 9to5mac earlier today, Bloomberg now says Apple will take the wraps off thinner Mac notebooks that feature Retina Displays and Flash memory at its developer-centric show next month.

Citing multiple unnamed sources, Bloomberg says the new MacBook Pros will be less than 0.95 inch (24mm) thick and sport Intel's third-generation Core series chips, code-named Ivy Bridge.

The report is the latest to suggest Apple is on the verge of updating its Mac portable line with a thinner design. Earlier today Apple blog 9to5mac said Apple was "putting the finishing touches" on a revamped version of its 15-inch MacBook Pro with a higher-resolution display and USB 3.0, all with the removal of the optical drive to shrink it down in size. Bloomberg's report makes no such mention of that feature disappearing.

Numerous rumors pointed to last month as the time when Apple would unveil new Mac notebook models to coincide with the release of Intel's latest generation of chips. Apple's last refresh of the MacBook Pro was in October when the company added a speedier processor, more storage, and upgraded graphics capabilities. It's been a bit longer for the MacBook Air, which was refreshed in late July to coincide with the release of Apple's Lion OS X software update.

It makes sense that Apple would wait until its developers conference to take the wraps off a higher-resolution screen technology. Developers would likely need to update parts of their software to take advantage of the new option. In recent months, Apple has been outed updating some of its own apps and icons to make use of the hardware feature.

Bloomberg noted, via a source, that next month could bring a release date for Apple's next OS X release, dubbed Mountain Lion. Apple took the wraps off that OS in February, giving developers time to ready their apps ahead of its release, promised in "late summer".

Apple's WWDC kicks off on June 11 in San Francisco. Like last year, Apple has promised it will show developers "the future of iOS and OS X". The show is also rumored to bring some changes to Apple's iCloud service.

BY: Josh Lowensohn
MIAMI -- Calling the honor "overwhelming" but pointing to a "bigger goal," LeBron James on Saturday became the eighth player in NBA history to win the MVP award three times.

James accepted the trophy and will get to show it off to Miami Heat fans Sunday afternoon when he's presented with the prize again by commissioner David Stern before Miami faces Indiana in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.

"Heat Nation, we have a bigger goal," James said. "This is very overwhelming to me as an individual award. But this is not the award I want, ultimately -- I want that championship. That's all that matters to me."

James won the award for the third time in four seasons. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone have won at least that many MVP trophies.

Abdul-Jabbar won six times, Jordan and Russell five times each, Chamberlain four times. Now, they're the only players with more than James.
President Barack Obama's announcement Wednesday in support of marriage for gay couples answered one key question: Where does he and so his party stand? Now the big question is: Are Americans in the middle ready to accept this?

That answer can be yes, based on our four years of extensive research into that precise question if marriage supporters heed three crucial lessons about how the middle views this issue.

First, the "rights" frame is wrong. One word emerged during our nine rounds of research that described how Americans in the middle view marriage: commitment.

In fact, when undecided Americans were asked what marriage means to them, "commitment" came up four times as often as the word "love." "Rights" never came up not once. To folks in the middle, marriage is about making a promise to care for each other for a lifetime, through better or worse.

They often focused on the latter because that is what makes marriage unique from other relationships. To them, marriage is about one thing: the obligation and responsibility that comes with making a public promise of lifetime commitment.

Second, the middle needs to know that gay couples want to join the institution of marriage not change it.

In our polling, folks in the middle weren't sure why gay couples want to marry. When asked why "couples like them" might want to marry, the middle's answer grew out of their conception of the institution, with nearly six in 10 saying it is "to publicly acknowledge their love and commitment to each other."

But why do gay couples want to marry? A plurality said it is "for rights and benefits like tax advantages, hospital visitation or sharing a spouse's pension." Another 25 percent said, "I don't know."

Given that marriage advocates have long made their case by focusing on the rights and benefits of marriage, it only follows that many Americans in the middle are confused about gay couples' motivations.

But this misconception is dangerous. Most couples don't marry for tax advantages and visitation rights they marry for profound reasons of love and commitment. Among those who felt gay couples want marriage for other reasons, their feelings toward marriage for gay couples were skeptical.

While your Xperia might not have gotten its planned Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade just yet, Sony's come clean on its first phone to wield Google's latest straight from the factory: the Xperia Neo L.

Appearing on the company's Chinese website, we wouldn't expect a redux of the mostly 2011 hardware to go on a world tour anytime soon. Those buying will be treated to a 4-inch FWVGA (854 x 480) screen that's a smidge bigger than the original yet still carries a 1GHz worth of Snapdragon coupled to 512MB of RAM.

Unlike the archetype, though, the camera gets downgraded to a 5 megapixels in the rear while retaining the same VGA shooter in the front. Naturally there's no word on price or availability, but at least for diehard fanboys can have their ice cream and eat it too.